Plantains are a delicious fruit native to Asia, Australia and Africa. They’re a common sight in South and Central American cuisine, as well as in the Caribbean region.
They’re small, yellow and light green, and look very similar to a banana – though they don’t taste the same at all.
Most often, you’ll find plantains baked, fried into chips or boiled. Sometimes, they’re even sweetened and served atop ice cream or as a dessert.
However you eat them, one thing’s for certain: These little babies are delicious. But you know what? That’s not even the best part about them!
In addition to their unique and undeniably great taste, plantains are also amazing for your body. They come with dozens of huge benefits that can improve your health, your internal systems and your overall wellness.
Want to get healthier this year? Let’s learn more about this powerhouse fruit now.
The Benefits of Plantains
One of the great things about plantains is they’re extremely low in calories. They only have a mere 122 calories in each fruit, and they’re a great source of natural, clean energy for your body. As far as nutrients go, plantains have 35 percent of your daily vitamin A requirement, and they have lots of vitamin B6, magnesium, iron, niacin, folate, riboflavin, thiamin and potassium (even more than bananas!)
Plantains are also extremely fibrous, which can have a number of big advantages for your health. First off, it can help you lose weight. Fiber takes your body a while to break down, so it helps keep you feeling fuller longer. This means no unwanted cravings, no overeating and no high calorie counts for the day! It also keeps your digestive tract clean and regular, so you can properly process your food and absorb the right nutrients from it.
Another great benefit of plantains and their high fiber content? It can help you fight off heart disease. Studies have actually shown that fiber can actually decrease your chances of developing certain types of heart disease, as well as other adverse health conditions like diabetes, colon cancer and more.
Thanks to the plantain’s high beta carotene levels, it can also be great for promoting eye health. It can even help alleviate dry eyes and regular eye infections, and it can improve your overall skin health as well.
With plenty of calcium in each little fruit, plantains can strengthen your bones, teeth and nails, and prevent unwanted breaks and fractures in your skeletal system. Studies show they may even help ward off osteoporosis, cavities, periodontal disease and other problems with these systems.
Finally, because plantains are robust with vitamin C, they act as great immune system boosters, too. Just one small plantain offers up 40 to 60 mg of vitamin C – a nutrient vital to fighting off infections, viruses and bacteria. It also helps promote healthy skin and teeth, it ensures your body Is properly oxygenated, and it helps you better absorb iron from the foods you eat.
Though they may look like bananas, plantains can’t be eaten the same way at all. In fact, plantains should never be eaten raw – that would be particularly difficult on the digestive system.
Instead, plantains need to be cooked and softened before indulging. The easiest way to do this is trim off the ends, remove the skin and place the entire plantain in a pot of boiling water, a top a preheated grill or in the oven, on a baking sheet. Once the fruit softens, you can slice it up and fry it, mash it, or serve it as a side dish.
Many cultures use plantains similar to how we use potatoes. They create plantain mash, plantain fries, plantain wedges and other familiar plates. Plantain chips are also particularly popular, and they have a taste similar to that of a sweet potato chip – starchy and crispy, yet a little bit sweet. Remember, if you want to create a plantain chip, you don’t have to fry it in oil and make it unhealthy. Just line a baking sheet with parchment paper, turn the heat up to 450 degrees, slice the plantain real thin, and toss in a little bit of olive oil. Roast them for about 20 minutes, and pretty soon you have crispy, healthy, delicious chips on your hands – no grease included!
You can usually find plantains at most supermarket, as long as they are in season. They should be firm and dark to light green, as they ripen face once picked. Store them for a few days at room temperature, and once they turn a light yellow, it’s time to eat.
Have you ever tried plantains before? If so, what’s your favorite way to eat or cook them? Be sure to share your ideas with me in the comments.
Remember to share this article with all your friends and family, so they can also discover the amazing benefits of plantains.
Together we can make this world a happier, healthier world!